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Issue No. 275 05 August 2005  

Iemma’s Dilemmas
The past fortnight has seen the sort of upheaval in NSW that reminds us all that politics is a very tenuous game with few certainties and even fewer rules.


Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them


 Carmen's Boss No Fun Guy

 Discriminating Centrelink on Charges

 Uproar Over Holiday Plans

 Do The Bus Stop

 Taxpayers to Fund Advertising Orgy

 Get Up Stands Up

 Andrews Provokes Showdown

 Thousands in Super Rort

 Constituents Don’t Trust Andrews

 Skill Shortage Fabricated

 Yanks Short Change Tradesmen

 Howard Steamroller Hits Building Sites

 CFMEU Bans Ferguson

 Activists Whats On!


The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.

 Back To The Past
 AFL-CIO Not The Only War
 Be Afraid
 Frame Up
 We Love Morris
 ANew Development
 A Readers Suggestion
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Yanks Short Change Tradesmen

American corporate giant Boeing is using individual contracts to dud former air force engineers of around $12,000 a year.

Despite constant Government assurances that individual contracts would be a matter choice, the aerospace company refuses to negotiate a collective agreement with more than 40 Williamstown tradesmen who maintain and service RAAF fighter jets.

The AWU claims the federal government has waived severe contractual penalties that should have been imposed on the company to encourage it to lead the fight against collective agreements.

AWU members at Williamstown have been locked out, or on strike, now for nine weeks in a bid to overturn the individual contracts.

"The Boeing dispute is about the right of these workers to choose a union negotiated agreement over unfair individual contracts," AWU state secretary, Russ Collison said.

"The contracts contain a 40-hour week, no allowances, and no overtime rates with the effect of workers being at least $12,000 a year worse off than those on union-negotiated agreements."

Collison said the wage differential came from a direct comparison with workers doing the same jobs for Hawker de Havilland at Bankstown.

Boeing bases its individual contracts on minimum rates in the metal trades award. It then adds a calculation to come up with a gross salary, supposedly covering overtime and all other entitlements.

AMWU sources, with members at several aerospace companies, say the gross amount is "about right" for fulltime employees but that Boeing operates a standard 43 hour week, against the 38 in the award, and that workers lose five hours worth of overtime payments every week.

They also point out that, contrary to the award and law, Boeing only pays super on its base figure, rather than full earnings. The difference can

Last week, another two scabs being flown in from Boeing's Queensland operation, quit Williamstown.

The number of Queensland strike breakers has now fallen from 26 to nine.

An Amberley worker told Workers Online that the original crew flown to NSW did not even know it was landing in the middle of an industrial dispute.

Boeing says employees have been "frustrated" by poor communications from management.

Last year, according to its annual report, Boeing recorded a profit of $52 billion.


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